what is the role of a sports manager in professional athletics

What is the Role of Sports Management in Professional Athletics?

If you are passionate about playing or coaching sports, consider a diverse and rewarding career in sports management.

Sports managers are the glue that ties the athletes to their team and organization, whether that manager is running a professional sports team, a collegiate club team, or anything in between. In fact, sports managers and the sports management profession often oversee all aspects of an athletic program.

Interested candidates often spearhead this career path by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management to prepare them for the role of sports management in professional athletics.

In today’s blog, we’ll define sports management, discuss the role of sports management in professional athletics, and share how individuals can pursue this exciting career path.

What is Sports Management?

Sports management is the management of the business of sports and recreation. This means that sports managers are individuals focused on the business side of sports and ensuring the careers of the different players and teams are successful.

Sports managers concentrate on public relations, marketing, and negotiating trades between teams of any size or competitiveness, from professional sports teams to recreational clubs.

You will likely find them running a sports team’s or organization’s front office, working behind the scenes, and sometimes even as intermediaries between the players, coaches, and the media.

The Roles and Duties of Sports Management and Sports Managers

The role of sports management and a sports manager can vary depending on the size of the team and their specific job description. Even on a day-to-day basis, tasks that ensure the success of a team or athletic program can vary greatly.

This career is not limited to handling athletic training, providing resources for athlete education, ensuring team and coach compliance, and even cultivating and fostering interest for their team or club in local communities. And if it involves a sports team’s financial or marketing aspects, you better bet the sports manager will have a say in what gets done.

Furthermore, sports managers should expect and be prepared to fulfill the following roles and duties in their careers:

  • Schedule team practices, games, and travel: Sports managers schedule practices and games and arrange the trip for coaches, players, and staff.
  • Act as a public relations professional: They will represent the team to stakeholders, including the media, coaches, and other athletic staff and personnel.
  • Perform accounting responsibilities and budgeting: It’s for this reason that sports managers need a business-savvy mindset and financial training to balance the team or organization’s income against salaries, equipment costs, travel costs, and other financial obligations.
  • Schedule public events and appearances: Sports managers will also make time for athletes and other team members to make documented public appearances such as press conferences, publicity shoots, and community events.
  • Organize events, fundraisers, and endorsements: By partnering with brands, donors, and team officials for promotional deals, fundraisers, and landing endorsements, sports managers further bolster team marketing efforts and community involvement. This also generates and secures team funding and capital for the organization.
  • Media and event appearances: Sports managers will also help instruct athletes, coaches, and team personnel on best practices and methods for proper media interaction, including event appearances.
  • Oversee ticket sales and distribution: The sports manager’s job is to ensure a team is competitively and financially successful. Thus, they will monitor ticket sales and distribution efforts to form strategies that ensure fans attend games and support their team. All of which generate revenue and income for their team or organization.


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How to Pursue a Career in Sports Management

To compete for a job in sports management, candidates will typically pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, where they learn the business and management side of sports and sports organizations.

Sports management programs develop students’ understanding of the financial, legal, and ethical realities of a career in sports and open them up to various career paths, coordinating, managing, and marketing sports events and teams.

Sports management courses and requirements will vary depending on the program and institution, so students should research to ensure the sports management program combines rigorous education, project-based learning, and hands-on field experience. Students should make sure the program of their choice includes courses in:

  • Accounting
  • Introduction to Business
  • Business Law
  • Statistics
  • Business Analytics
  • Economics
  • Policy and Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Ethics in Sports Management

Upon completing a Sports Management degree, candidates can pursue exciting and lucrative careers as sports managers, athletic directors, sports marketers, agents, event coordinators, and more.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for entertainment and sports occupations is $49,470, higher than the median annual wage of $45,760 for all occupations. Plus, the employment rate is projected to grow thirteen percent by 2031, making this a fantastic time to pursue a sports and sports management career.

A career in sports management is filled with excitement and possibilities as you fulfill many organizational duties to benefit your team or organization.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Sports Management degree at University of Bridgeport by contacting us today. Together, we’ll grow your skills in collaboration, communication, creativity, time management, and problem-solving for a successful career in all areas of sports management.

It’s time to take the next step toward your career in athletics!